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Secret Hiding Spot (For Mommy Only!)

I recently redecorated most of the upstairs of my house. I turned what used to be a craft/hobby room into a train station bedroom for my son. You can see pictures here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2015/08/05/ms-train-station-bedroom-my-new-upstairs/

But I didn’t stop there.

I also repainted the area (landing?) at the top of my stairway that used to be a heinous beige pink and had been driving me crazy for years.

I was sooo happy with the changes I made. My only regret was not having done them earlier.

But, well, in this shuffle, items that used to be in about four rooms was moved into three. When all was said and done, my husband decided to turn the old nursery into a “man room.”

This left me with a bedroom upstairs filled with my hoarders delight of boxes of crafts and paperwork. What was the first thing I did in the room?

I made a secret hiding spot. Just for me. So that no one could find me. Not my son. Not my husband. Not even my dog.

I put up a three-paneled screen (that I have had for years and had no idea what to use it for) to block off the rest of the room that was still cluttered with boxes. It has a window for sunlight and fresh air, a mini alter with colorful stones and tarot cards, and a fairy garden. Best of all, it has a hidden corner with pillows to read or nap.

Secret hiding spot by the window

Secret hiding spot by the window

When I am really stressed (if I remember), I can run to my corner and just chill out for a few minutes. I actually have fallen asleep in there a few times.

My husband takes my secret hiding place as some sort of insult. But I pointed out that he heads out to the garage for house to tinker with stuff. That is his spot. I just wanted a little spot to myself. Just one problem with the secret hiding spot…

Secret hiding spot reading corner

Secret hiding spot reading corner

There are toys left there that are not mine. The blanket will look as if a dog made a nest out of it. And when I am there, sometimes a man who looks suspiciously like my husband will come and assault me with real life.

The son found it. The husband found it. Even the dog found it.

I guess the best secrets are very hard to keep…

I heard the latest trend was “she sheds.” Hmmm… Maybe I will have to get me one of those.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
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Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare

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When I first heard there was such a thing as doggy daycares, I thought it was a GREAT idea! Cute little dogs, running and playing all day while their owners were at work. I didn’t have a dog at the time. And when I did get my furry daughter Dave, I couldn’t afford to enroll her anyway. There was one in the city I worked in, but not in the city I lived in.

Then I got the great idea to start my own doggy daycare. I could take my dog there with me, to work every day! I wouldn’t have to miss her! I wouldn’t have to pay to enroll her! I could be making money off other people’s dogs! I could have it right in my own town and alleviate my two hour daily commute!

Why, Dave could be my mascot!  She could also be my mascot for my dream of a Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.  Hmmm.  There must be someway to combine the two business ideas.  Customers who don’t pay up, their dogs get ground into hot dogs!  Wait, too gruesome?  Scratch that.  Just a cost-cutting idea 😉

My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up

My Dave, the mascot of my dog empire, featured her in an early mock-up

I love organization. I could have spreadsheets about what dogs get fed how much and what kind of food. I could make forms for prospective clients to fill out and submit with their proof of vaccinations and emergency info. I could keep have a file full of dates when I need to nag the owners to get me new annual shot records.

I made a mental plan to get a job at a doggy daycare for a while so that I could get paid training and pilfer their best practices. I looked up all the closest ones online. I watched their job postings. I even took an American Red Cross Dog First Aid class (required or highly recommended to work for most of these places).

My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card

My American Red Cross Dog First Aid card

At one point, I even had a job offer from one. At the time, it did not fit the requirements I needed for a job to support my family’s needs. Which, was kind of a huge bummer.

It seemed like a great plan and I held on to that dream for several years. But I finally gave it up. Mostly because our Pointer Parker is such a troublesome dog, he turned me off to spending all day, every day, with dogs. As I speak, Parker is pacing through the house. He will momentarily pee on the floor is I do not jump right up and let him out. It doesn’t matter that he just went out two hours ago. Or that I purposely left his water dish empty since breakfast so that he would not drink the whole thing all at once. I really do not like him. And part of that could be that he took my dream away from me. One of the few I ever had that seemed like I would be able to make it work.

This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me.  Don't let the Santa hat fool you.

This is the horrible Parker dog who has stolen my dreams from me. Don’t let the Santa hat fool you.

There. I just let him outside, and back in again. Of course, while he was out there, he danced the Riverdance in the mud puddles. He comes in covered in mud (and I know what else) from head to toe. He is entitled and ungrateful. He is actually a cat.

Cats would never be allowed at Jennifer’s Doggy Daycare.

I have returned to my ultimate dream: early retirement. I might need the help of the lottery to make that one happen.

Jennifer’s Wiener Hut

My gramma used to live on the top floor of a 7-story apartment building. I would stand on her balcony and watch the residents and visitors come and go from the parking lot below. I could also see the busy 5-lane road that served as her building’s address.

Across the street was a shopping plaza. It did not contain some of the busier stores in town, but there was lots of traffic that passed by. At the very front of the plaza was a tiny gas station, back when they still made them that way. It had two old-school square pumps out front. I believe it may have even been full service.

But you have to remember, this was probably 25 years ago.

The gas station closed and sat there empty for a long time. And that is when I developed my business plan.

My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs

My great consignment store find plate featuring hamburgers and hot dogs

I wanted to someday use that building to open Jennifer’s Wiener Hut. At the time, there were many restaurants along that road. And being at the front of the parking lot right near the street, I would have had great frontage.

I would have put a drive-thru on both sides of the building. This was pretty forward thinking for my age at that time, as I had never seen a Rally’s with that set-up. I would have had my sign be a giant hot dog at the top of the building that said “Jennifer’s Wiener Hut”.  It would be drive-thru or walk up only, no indoor seating.

Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers

Hot Dog Salt & Pepper Shakers

I would have served hot dogs and sausages. I would have offered chips as sides. I figured I could offer almost anything on the menu as long as it didn’t require a fryer. (I’m scared of bubbling hot oil.)

My restaurant would be known for getting the cars in and out fast. (This would be an advantage of having a limited menu.) People with only a half hour for their lunch would think of my restaurant first. People who were in a hurry would be my target customer. Unfortunately, that would make for a rather crabby customer base.

It’s not that I think hot dogs are the greatest food of all-time. They are not. Although they are a great food choice for picky eaters at a fair or festival. And sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot.

Although, according to the book “Never Put Ketchup On A Hot Dog” (I used to send copies of this book out to stores at my old job), I am sacrilegious because I usually only eat ketchup on my hot dog (and sometimes onions). But, as my mom would say, “Hot dogs are just made of the leftover parts the meat companies can’t use for anything else”. So why should it matter what way I choose to consume it?

I love hot dogs the most because of the kitsch/camp factor. Hot dog advertising over the years is so cute and happy. Just picture the smiling, dancing hot dog with his friends popcorn and fountain pop on the drive-in movie screen. And think of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. (But that is a whole post of it’s own. Someday.)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned Skeldon Stadium (now torn down)

Over the years I have purchased items with hot dogs on them, and in the back of my mind I always thought maybe I would use them someday in my hot dog stand or as a decoration on the shelf that would go around inside my stand, up by the ceiling.

Hot Dog Towel

Hot Dog Towel

On Mackinac Island, there is a yellow hotel across the street from the Straits of Mackinac. It has a little hot dog stand in front of it between the street and the water painted up yellow and white, just like the hotel. I took a picture of it so that I could remember it as a model for Jennifer’s Wiener Hut.

Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island

Hotel and Hot Dog Stand on Mackinac Island

The gas station I dreamed of converting is long since torn down. But I still think it is a good idea. And because I would be the owner, I would hire other people to actually work in the hot, steamy, tiny kitchen. I would just beam with pride that I own a business with my name on it and am making money from it.

And if the hot dog stand didn’t work out, I could use the same name for a male strip club 😉

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